Another female firefighter in Leduc has handed her badge back – this time it happened literally and publicly – during an impassioned withdrawal in front of city councillors.
“I respectfully tender my resignation. When I received this badge I was full of pride,” Megan Wright said during a Monday meeting, which was streamed online.
“Now when I look at it, all it is is a symbol of my trauma and an unsafe workplace,” she said before leaving her badge on a podium in council chambers and walking away.
Leduc Fire Services faces a lawsuit launched by two other former female employees, who claim they suffered descrimination and abuse at work.
Wright was with the service for nearly a decade as a paramedic and firefighter.
She alleges that she made multiple attempts to raise concerns about harassment and abuse, but she wasn’t taken seriously.
“What’s your character? Are you lying? Are you making this up? Are you trying to get ahead?” She said as she described how her claims were received.
“Physical, sexual, bullying, mental abuse, gaslighting, (we were) basically told we’re the ones with the problem.”
‘IT’S REALLY SAD. IT’S A SHOCK ‘: MAYOR
The lawsuit, which has not been proven in court, alleges that abuse was systemic.
“The fire department created a system and culture where the abuse of female firefighters was systemic, common and tolerated,” reads that statement of claim.
Lawyer Robert Martz is awaiting a judge’s approval to certify the case as a class action lawsuit.
He didn’t provide an exact number of how many victims he alleges there are, but he believes there are more than two.
“They hope to bring these problems to light and ensure it doesn’t happen again to any other women,” he said of his clients.
The fire chief in Leduc, George Clancy, resigned last month. The city manager called it a “personal decision.”
“We have accepted the resignation of the chief, you would have to contact him to find out the reasons for that,” Mayor Bob Young said.
At the meeting, the major called Wright’s allegations “alarming,” and explained that he was limited in what he could say because of the lawsuit.
Young added that the city is “committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment.”
He said Leduc has taken disciplinary action and committed to an external review of the culture of the department.
“It’s really sad. It’s a shock. That’s one thing our council here is committed to, we are going to do a top to bottom investigation,” Young said.
CTV News Edmonton reached out to Clancy for comment on this story.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Chelan Skulski and The Canadian Press